And it’s a wrap! From Beyoncé and Taylor Swift monopolizing our lives to NFL safety debates, labor strikes, celebrity divorces and endless court appearances (who knew Gwyneth Paltrow and Young Thug would have anything in common this year?), We– have recollected it all. Here’s what dominated the pop culture in 2023.
The Most Memorable Pop Culture Moments Of 2023
This year, we have experienced many things, even too many! So gather around, pop culture lovers. Here are the things that defined pop culture this year, for better or worse.
- Barbenheimer’ Dominates The Box Office
It was a theatrical event we haven’t seen since Tony Stark died in the MCU (sorry, this is no longer a spoiler).
“Barbie” and “Oppenheimer,” two of the most anticipated movies 2023, premiered on the same summer weekend. (“Barbie” was released by Warner Bros., which shares parent company Warner Bros. Discovery with CNN.)
Instead of competing with them, moviegoers created a viral campaign to see them on the same day in a dissonant double feature. They called her “Barbenheimer.” Hype and marketing budgets aside, the “Barbenheimer” movement propelled both films to the top of the box office and gave theatres a much-needed boost. The real bottom line is that audiences want to see good movies, whether they’re steeped in historical horror or decked out in pink.
- Reign Of Celebrity Memoirs
It was the year of celebrity memoirs: Britney Spears’ “The Woman in Me” was presented as the pop idol’s first account of her 13 years of conservatorship, while Prince Harry’s “Spare” was the former royal’s account of the House of Windsor.
Barbra Streisand, of course, needed almost 1,000 pages to tell her extraordinary life, and even Julia Fox, at 33, had a book full of incredible stories. Accompanying audiobooks further enriched the texts: Five-time Oscar nominee Michelle Williams nonchalantly recited the Justin Timberlake/Ginuwine “fo shizz” passage from Spears’ memoir; Prince Harry went viral for reading descriptive phrases about his penis. His honesty paid off: All four memoirs became New York Times bestsellers.
- Sandoval Shocks The Bravo Universe
When “Vanderpump Rules” star Tom Sandoval cheated on his fiancée and co-star Ariana Madix with co-star Rachel Leviss, fans were shocked. The outpouring of shock and support for Madix was so massive that it forced even non-Bravo viewers to pay attention. And when the revelations aired on “Pump Rules,” fans relived the drama as if for the first time: The episode about the aftermath of the breakup was the series’ highest-rated episode. Madix, at least, handles heartbreak well: she recently published a cocktail recipe book and will soon star in “Chicago” on Broadway.
- The Simpsons Strangle Each Other
“The Simpsons” has had a few constants throughout its three decades and 35 seasons. The family will always be yellow, Springfield will always be stateless, and Homer will always strangle Bart. And yet, fans were sure the donut-loving TV patriarch had finally ditched the boy after a joke from a recent episode went viral off-air: “See, Marge, strangle the boy.”
Series creator Matt Groening and producer James L. Brooks put the rumors to rest with a new drawing of Homer wringing the young scoundrel’s neck, this time through “clickbaiting.” According to the team, “Homer Simpson was unavailable for comment, as he was busy strangling Bart.”
- The Eras And Renacimiento Tours Make The Summer Sing
Taylor Swift’s “Eras” tour and Beyoncé’s “Renaissance” tour were the suns our summers revolved around. If for “Renaissance” you didn’t dress the most chic, for “Eras” you put on friendship bracelets. Or maybe both. The tours became record-breaking behemoths, bringing in billions of dollars in revenue to Live Nation, selling out stadiums worldwide, and spawning blockbuster concert films that also became substantial cash cows. The year belongs to these two queens.
- Formula 1 Takes Our Hearts
The fifth season of Netflix’s “Drive to Survive,” a documentary series about Formula 1, aired in February and brought all sorts of F1 lingo into the lexicon (cut to us navigating traffic on the way to work, running down the highway and telling ourselves “push push”).
Aside from our fast travel, F1 has had a great year in the United States. American automakers such as General Motors and Ford have applied to get in on the action, and the season was capped by the sport’s first grand prix in Las Vegas in more than 40 years. Although many residents were skeptical, watching the drivers’ race down the Strip was a sight. F1 may not have unseated soccer as America’s favorite sport yet, but it gets points for trying.
- Everyone On Strike
Motorists, actors, hospitality workers, writers, healthcare workers… you name it, they’ve probably gone on strike.
The biggest of these was, without a doubt, the WGA strike, a nearly five-month saga that paralyzed Hollywood along with the SAG-AFTRA strike. Who was going to tell us that we would miss seeing the most beautiful among us promoting their work?
Unfortunately, that has been the case, and the disruption has exposed some of the sinister ins and outs of the industry, most notably when one studio executive told Deadline that they would allow the strike to continue until the writers “started losing their jobs.” flats and their houses”. THESE screenwriters shudder to think about it.
- Famous People Get Divorced
For Taylor Swift and Travis Kelce, it was the fall of love. But for all the other celebrities – Joe Jonas and Sophie Turner, Jodie Turner-Smith and Joshua Jackson, Cardi B and Offset, Jeremy Allen White, Reese Witherspoon, Tina Knowles, Tia Mowry, Deion Sanders, Hugh Jackman, Britney Spears, Ariana Grande, Sofia Vergara, Ricky Martin, Billy Porter, Kevin Costner, David Lynch, Lukas Gage, Maren Morris and, and, and- it was the year of the divorce.
- Hip-Hop Turns 50, And André 3000 Makes A Flute Album
Not every year does a musical genre so deeply rooted in American culture turn 50 years old. And also not every year, André 3000, one of the lighthouses of the genre, releases his first solo album, “New Blue Sun”, which is not a hip-hop album but a soft, spring-like flute odyssey.
- Rihanna Drops The Microphone At The Super Bowl
Rihanna announced her second pregnancy this year in a place worthy of one of our biggest stars: During the Super Bowl halftime show, she was dressed in a cherry red jumpsuit with matching Loewe bib and huge Alaia coats. Rihanna reminded us why we adore her: She sang her greatest hits for over 10 minutes while showing off her baby bump. Does anyone remember who won the Super Bowl this year? Because we’re still mesmerized by Rih’s unflappable return to the stage with the baby in tow!
- Celebrities Go To Trial
It’s been a busy year for celebrities who have had to appear in court, and fans (and haters) have followed them closely. Gwyneth Paltrow’s case in a Utah court, she ultimately won, after a retired optometrist accused her of crashing into him on skis in 2016.
Young Thug’s Atlanta RICO case continues, with the acclaimed rapper accused of leading a gang that shares the initials of his record label, YSL, and carrying out violent acts for more than a decade. And former President Donald Trump has appeared in court more than once this year, most recently in a civil fraud trial in New York.